Honda Civic GX Tops Greenest Vehicles List
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released its list of the top green cars of 2011. Number one for the eighth year in a row is the Honda Civic GX, which tied its "Green Score" with the second-place Nissan Leaf. You may not have heard of this special Civic, since it runs on compressed natural gas (CNG) and sales are limited to specific areas.
In contrast, the Nissan Leaf all-electric car has made a splash with American consumers looking for a user-friendly zero emissions vehicle. The compact car is easy to recharge and provides an EPA test cycle range of 100 miles. The miniature Smart Fortwo gasoline auto took third place thanks to its small footprint and high MPG.
The ACEEE Green Score is calculated based on a variety of factors besides just fuel consumption and emissions. A vehicle's weight factors into the impacts of manufacture, and different battery types have pros and cons environmentally speaking. Surprisingly for some, the Chevy Volt came in 13th on the list after several gasoline-only vehicles. The heavy weight of the Volt along with its emissions and MPG when not operating in all-electric mode resulted in a Green Score of 48.
This is just one point below other contenders scoring 49 points including vehicles such as the Chevy Cruze Eco and Mini Cooper. Notably, no diesel-powered cars made the list regardless of their stellar fuel economy. The emissions of these cars are still to dirty to compete with cleaner burning unleaded gasoline, CNG and electric power from the grid. On that note, specific areas of the country with renewable electric power would push some of these rechargeable vehicles even higher up the list, since the electricity generation doesn't cause its own pollution at the source.
Check out the complete 2011 list of greenest vehicles (and the dirtiest vehicles on the road) at greenercars.org.